Surge Protective Devices Onboard Vessels

MarineLink.com
Monday, April 08, 2013

Surge protective devices (SPDs), more commonly known as surge protectors or power strips, help protect electronic devices from being damaged from excessive currents and allow the delivery of power to multiple devices simultaneously. This safety alert addresses the use of certain electrical protection devices onboard vessels and the inherent risks they may cause. Most commercially available SPDs are designed for use ashore and will interrupt only the hot conductor when a surge occurs. What does that mean for the ship owner/operator? It means that while these devices may provide protection in our homes and offices, these same devices may be fire risks onboard vessels.

A marine casualty investigation of two separate stateroom fires onboard a U.S. Flag Container ship revealed that the sources of the fires were attributed to the use of SPDs plugged into a lighting circuit. It was discovered that a ground had developed on another circuit that was connected to the same distribution panel providing power to the staterooms. This ground created an imbalance of voltage between the two power conductors supplying the SPDs which caused excessive currents, overheating, and subsequently, a fire. In this instance, even if the SPDs automatically tripped as designed, only one power conductor would have been secured while the other would continue to provide power, possibly shorting to the device's ground wire and the structure of the vessel.

For shipboard applications, it is critical for a device to interrupt both power conductors. Underwriters Lab Standard - UL Marine 1449 - addresses this issue and applies to the use of SPDs.

The Coast Guard recommends that vessel Owners, Operators, Class Society Surveyors, Insurers, and other inspection personnel examine the risks associated with the use of SPDs aboard their vessels, and if necessary ensure their organizations have policies and procedures relating to their use.  Vessels should have defined procedures for checking the condition and grounding capabilities of personal/portable electrical equipment, and trained shipboard personnel should be assigned to check and approve all SPDs in use or brought on board for compatibility with the vessel's electrical distribution system prior to use. Routine checks of switchboard and distribution system 120 VAC ground detection systems are necessary to detect the presence of grounds that may cause similar circumstances with non-marine type SPDs. These recommendations are not mandated, rather just an advisory based on lessons learned from the casualty.

www.marineinvestigations.us
 

Maritime Reporter March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Marine Electronics

KVH Precision Sensors for Geodetics' Inertial Navigation Systems

KVH Industries, Inc.,  a leading manufacturer of high performance fiber optic-based inertial sensors and gyros has entered into a strategic partnership with Geodetics Inc.

A New Standard in Marine Communications

KVH provides and Harvey Gulf employs possibly the most sophisticated on-board SATCOM and related service package on the water. That’s no accident.     If quality service,

Portuguese Navy Orders Sonar System Upgrades

General Dynamics Canada is installing an adjunct processing system on three VASCO DA GAMA-class frigates of the Portuguese Navy. Designed by General Dynamics Canada,

Maritime Safety

KVH Precision Sensors for Geodetics' Inertial Navigation Systems

KVH Industries, Inc.,  a leading manufacturer of high performance fiber optic-based inertial sensors and gyros has entered into a strategic partnership with Geodetics Inc.

Search resumes for missing in S. Korean ferry disaster

South Korean coastguards and navy divers resumed their search on Thursday for nearly 280 people still missing after a ferry capsized in what could be the country's

BOEM gives more time to submit plans OCS

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced today the publication of its Final Rule to extend time requirements for submitting a Site Assessment Plan

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0967 sec (10 req/sec)